Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Australian National Security College

Last Thursday in the 2009 Annual Burgmann College Lecture, the Prime Minister proposed a National Security College be set up by the Australian Government and the Australian National University. This would train senior civilian and military officers in strategic matters, including collaborative culture.

It happens I attended a short course at the then Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies. In this as a senior government officer I took part in a role playing exercise with senior military officers on how to deal with a security crisis in South East Asia. This was very different from the average public service course. Later I gave the college a seminar on Internet and web for command and control at a Joint US/Australian military exercise.

The mention of "collaborative culture" by the PM is significant. There may be a role for the use of technology in this training, as this is also being increasingly used for the actual collaboration at senior levels. Both the military and civilian government buildings are being equipped with computers and telecommunications to link them together for meetings. What is lacking is training of the staff in how to make use of these facilities, both the support staff who prepare briefing materials and the senior staff who need to lean new forms of literacy to be able to use the materials.

Recently I was considering how the techniques of mentoring and collaboration I have been using to teach Green ICT, may be applied further. One thought was to develop a course which not only used these techniques for delivery, but also as the topic of the course: teach how to do online collaboration, by using online collaborating. Apart from teaching an essential skill to senior decision makers, this would also have the advantage of reducing the resources required to deliver such courses.

A major problem with courses for senior staff is to get them in one place at the same time for long enough to teach them. One way around this is to give them online courses. This also has the advantage of better simulating the busy environment which the education is for. It also makes best use of very senior instructors.

... I spoke before about the new strategic relationship between the Australian Government and the ANU. To spearhead this new relationship, I want to explore the establishment of a National Security College.

National security is now a very complex policy environment and senior officials need new sets of knowledge and skills to operate effectively and strategically within this new environment. Last December in my National Security Statement I announced the establishment of a national Security Executive Development Program.

The development of this program is underway, however I envisage that this be developed into a suite of world-leading courses that will be undertaken by senior officials working in the national security community.

I want the Program to develop a generation of senior executive officials who will have a shared understanding of the national security strategic environment, architecture and collaborative culture - and a shared understanding of the capabilities, priorities and challenges that exist across the national security community. Such a college would help develop the next generation of national security leaders and more broadly enhance strategic leadership in our community.

To give this program a “home” and recognised brand of excellence, some preliminary discussions have commenced with the ANU about the establishment of a National Security College as a joint venture established under our strategic relationship with the ANU. These initiatives, incorporating national security and public service excellence, would not only help generate the future leaders of the Australian public service.

The strategic relationship would also build the capabilities for university-based experts to support the Government and contribute to policy making. Preliminary discussions will explore models for how such a venture could be progressed. ...

From: 2009 Annual Burgmann College Lecture, Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia at the Australian National University, 27 August 2009

No comments: